LA Rams make one final roster move for SB LVI: Checkmate Bengals

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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The LA Rams have tried to get both tight end Tyler Higbee and backup offensive lineman Joseph Noteboom healthy enough to compete in Super Bowl LVI. When that effort failed, the team faced the reality of the situation: Neither player would be ready to go in this most important game against the Cincinnati Bengals. What could the front office do?

Well, why not designate both players to injured reserve and add two players who are healthy enough to play? Lo and behold, that is exactly what the team chose to do. So today, the LA Rams reassigned TE Higbee and OL Noteboom to IR, and have activated NT Sebastian Joseph Day and RB Darell Henderson Jr.

Okay, what does that mean?

Translation, please?

Well, we know that the LA Rams have been here before. Without Higbee or Noteboom, the LA Rams’ efforts to put their 12-personnel power running package is a bit more complex. That will mean putting both tight ends, Kendall Blanton and Brycen Hopkins, on the field simultaneously. It will also mean that the Rams will opt for either Bobby Evans or Coleman Shelton to come in as their sixth offensive lineman

With Noteboom on IR, the LA Rams can ill afford any injuries along the offensive line. In the past, the Rams had been a bit creative in their replacement assignments. I would expect if there is a need to swap out an interior lineman, Shelton will be drafted into duty. A.J. Jackson did well at left tackle, but if an offensive tackle goes out, the Rams could go with either Bobby Evans, David Edwards (and put Shelton in a left guard), or even roll the dice on rookie A.J. Jackson one more time.

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So what do the Rams get in SJD and Hendy?

On the positive side, the LA Rams just got that much stronger on defense at the spot where the Cincinnati Bengals offensive line is the weakest: Over center and right guard. With Sebastian Joseph Day on the football field, the LA Rams’ full complement of stunts upfront is available and at the discretion of DC Raheem Morris.

SJD can slide to any position on the defensive front and his ability to do so will add a great deal of confusion to an offensive line that will already be at the brink of being overwhelmed with the task of blocking Aaron Donald.

Meanwhile, the Rams running game is back to full strength, the first time that has happened all year. That means that Sony Michel has essentially been assigned the role that was handled by RB Malcolm Brown a year ago. Cam Akers will likely get the lion’s share of the workload. But that leaves attacking the perimeter for Darrell Henderson Jr, something that truly is in his wheelhouse. With the Rams going without Higbee, Hendy will give the offense a nice receiving target without sacrificing the blocking ability of Blanton.

An ideal situation? Not at all. But the Rams roster is deep enough to come through in the face of adversity. Even in Super Bowl LVI.

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